Today, the Houston Chronicle reported that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay believes Iraq is actually going quite well. The problem, as DeLay sees it, is not that Iraq has become a “real-world laboratory for urban combat,” but rather how the media is covering Iraq. DeLay suggested that the violence in Houston is no different than the violence going on in Iraq. You would think DeLay would be speaking from first-hand observations, but in fact, he last visited Iraq in AUGUST 2003 — that’s right, almost two years ago. By the end of August 2003, only 289 U.S. troops had died in combat. The toll stands at over 1700 today.
Despite the fact that DeLay has not witnessed the recent upsurge in violence first-hand, that didn’t stop him from scolding the media:
Go to Iraq. And see what’s actually happening there. Everybody that comes from Iraq is amazed at the difference of what they see on the ground and what they see on the television set.
The difference between what’s going on on the ground versus what is seen on the television sets was made clear to DeLay when he visited Iraq in August 2003. Recounting the trip later with fellow voyager Congressman Ander Crenshaw, DeLay wrote:
This was a war zone. This is a burgeoning democracy. A soldier with his hands on an M16 and eyes aimed out the window greeted us, “Sirs, welcome to free Iraq.”
I didn’t realize travelers who arrive at George Bush Intercontinental/Houston airport are greeting with soldiers carrying M16s.